Senta Berger


Senta Berger

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Image result for senta berger

Senta Berger
Senta Berger 1975.jpg

Berger in 1975
Born (1941-05-13) 13 May 1941 (age 76)
Vienna, Austria
Occupation Actress, producer, author
Years active 1955–present
Spouse(s) Michael Verhoeven (1966–present) (2 children)
Children Luca Verhoeven (b. 1979)
Simon Verhoeven

Senta Berger (German pronunciation: [ˈzɛnta ˈbɛʁɡɐ]; born 13 May 1941) is an Austrian film, stage and television actress, producer and author. She received many award nominations for her acting in theatre, film and television; her awards include three Bambi Awards, two Romys, an Adolf Grimme Award, both a Deutscher and a Bayerischer Fernsehpreis, and a Goldene Kamera.

Berger married director and producer Michael Verhoeven in 1966. They are the parents of actors Simon and Luca Verhoeven.

Early life[edit]

Berger is the daughter of musician Josef Berger and teacher Therese Jany.[1] She first appeared on stage at the age of four, when her father accompanied her singing on the piano. At the age of five she started ballet lessons.

Berger also took private acting lessons. In 1957, she won her first small role in one of the final films directed by Austrian auteur Willi Forst. She applied for the Max Reinhardt Seminar, a famous acting school in Vienna, and was accepted, but she left shortly afterwards after accepting a film role without permission. In 1958, she became the youngest member of the Josefstadt Theatre in Vienna.


Bernhard Wicki and Artur Brauner produced the film The Good Soldier Schweijk with Berger and the German actor Heinz Rühmann. Brauner used Berger in several films, but she soon tired of musicals. In 1962, she went to Hollywood and worked with stars such as Charlton Heston, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Richard Widmark, John Wayne, Jack Kelly, and Yul Brynner. She returned to Germany to accept an offer for a role in a series, which would have brought[clarification needed] an obligation of several years.

In 1963, Berger met Michael Verhoeven, son of the German film director Paul Verhoeven (not to be confused with the Dutch Paul Verhoeven). They started their own film production company in 1965. In 1966, Senta and Michael married. In 1970, she starred for the first time in a film produced by her own company and directed by her husband. Other internationally successful films made by the duo included, amongst others, Die weiße Rose, The Nasty Girl (Das schreckliche Mädchen) and Mutters Courage. Berger continued to develop her European career in France and Italy. Also in 1966, the British film Our Man in Marrakesh, called Bang, Bang, You’re Dead in the U.S., was released, starring Senta Berger opposite Tony Randall.

Photo of Senta Berger and Robert Vaughn

In November 1964, she guest starred in an episode of the U.S. television show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, entitled “The Double Affair”. It was later expanded and released in cinemas as the feature film The Spy with My Face (1965). In 1966, Berger co-starred with Kirk Douglas in the film Cast a Giant Shadow. Berger played the role of Magda, a soldier in the Israeli army during the Israeli War of Independence (1948). In The Quiller Memorandum, also released in 1966, she played opposite Max von Sydow and George Segal in the role of a German schoolteacher involved in neo-Nazi activity.

In 1967, Berger acted in the pilot film for the Robert Wagner television series It Takes a Thief, which aired on American television network ABC on 9 January 1968. She reprised her role in the series in October 1969, in an episode in which her character was killed off.

In 1977, she was head of the jury at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival.[2] 21 years later, she was part of the jury at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.[3]

Senta Berger in 1975

In the 1970s, Photoplay Film Monthly said, “Approaching motherhood, Senta, the one-time militant feminist, has reverted to a docile feminine woman, just like the girl next-door.” (Starlet, Kim Holston, 1988, McFarland).

Following the birth of her two sons (including the actor-director Simon Verhoeven), Berger returned to theatre work. She played at the Burgtheater in Vienna, at the Thaliatheater in Hamburg and at the Schillertheater in Berlin. Between 1974 and 1982, she played the “Buhlschaft” in the play Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival with Curd Jürgens and Maximilian Schell. She also acted alongside Schell and James Coburn in a supporting role in the acclaimed war film Cross of Iron (1977). In 1985–86, Berger started a comeback in front of German-speaking audiences in the TV serial Kir Royal. Further serial hits followed, like Die schnelle Gerdi (The Fast Gerti), where she played a taxi driver.

In the same year, she also started a career as a singer of chansons. 2005 saw her in the film, Einmal so wie ich will, as a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who finds love on holiday, but turns her back on the relationship.

Since February 2003, Berger has been president of the German Film Academy, which seeks to advance the new generation of actors and actresses in Germany and Europe. The Academy will decide the assignment of the German Film Awards in the future.


In the spring of 2006, Berger’s autobiography was published in Germany: Ich habe ja gewußt, daß ich fliegen kann (“I Knew That I Could Fly“). Among her memories of Hollywood are a less-than-subtle attempt by Darryl Zanuck to get her on his casting couch, and of all the shallow people she met in Hollywood.

Honours and awards[edit]

Her star on Boulevard of Stars (2011)

  • Bambi Prize (1968)
  • Bravo Otto in Bronze (1969)
  • Film Award in Silver (production) for Die Weiße Rose on behalf of the film company Sentana (1983)
  • German Actor Award (Chaplin-shoe) for her role in Kir Royal (1987)
  • Bambi Prize, Special Bambi “Unknockable Stars” (1990)
  • Golden Gong (1996)
  • Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class (1999)[4]
  • Karl Valentin Orden (1998)
  • Golden Romy as the most popular actress (1998)
  • Bambi Prize in the category for the National Television ARD Vierteiler Love and Other Catastrophes (1999)
  • Federal Cross of Merit (1999)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2002)
  • German Hörbuchpreis (2003)
  • Medal Munich shines (for outstanding service to Munich) (2003)
  • Hessian TV award as an ensemble member of the film The Conference (2005)
  • Golden Ox – Honorary Award of the Film Arts Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to the Sentana Film Production Senta Berger and Michael Verhoeven (2005)
  • Billy Wilder Award (2006)
  • Platinum Romy for lifetime achievement (2007)
  • Special Prize of the German TV crime Award for her starring role in the WDR production Schlaflos (“Sleepless”) (2009)
  • Herbert-Strate Prize of the NRW Film Foundation and the Association HDF Kino Cinema (2009)
  • German Television Award for Best Actress for her leading role in Schlaflos (2009)
  • Special Prize at the Television Film Festival in Baden-Baden for outstanding dramatic performance in Frau Böhm sagt Nein (2009)
  • Golden Camera Award in the category Best Actress in German Frau Böhm sagt Nein and Schlaflos (2010)
  • Adolf Grimme Award for her performance in Frau Böhm sagt Nein (2010)
  • Bavarian Television Award for best actress says in the “TV Movie” for her role in the film Frau Böhm sagt Nein (2010)
  • Grand Diagonale drama prize for lifetime achievement (2010)
  • Star on the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin (2010)
  • Hans Abich Award for outstanding services in television and film (Television Film Festival, Baden-Baden, 2010)
  • Cultural Award of the City of Munich (2011)
  • Bear (B.Z. culture prize) (2012)

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Director Notes
1959 The Journey Serving Girl in Black Scarf Anatole Litvak
1960 The Good Soldier Schweik Gretl Axel von Ambesser
1961 The Secret Ways Elsa Phil Karlson
1961 The Miracle of Father Malachia Yvonne Krüger Bernhard Wicki
1961 Es muß nicht immer Kaviar sein (de) Chantal Géza von Radványi Two films (Part 2)
1961 Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Koffer (de) Susan Brown Werner Klingler
1962 Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (de) Nelly Werner Klingler
1962 Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace Mrs. Ellen Blackmore Terence Fisher
1963 The Victors Trudi Carl Foreman
1963 Kali Yug: Goddess of Vengeance Catherine Talbot Mario Camerini Two films
1963 Jack und Jenny (de) Jenny Victor Vicas
1964 The Spy with My Face Serena John Newland The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
1964 See How They Run Orlando Miller David Lowell Rich TV movie
1965 Major Dundee Teresa Santiago Sam Peckinpah
1965 The Glory Guys Lou Woddard Arnold Laven
1966 Cast a Giant Shadow Magda Simon Melville Shavelson
1966 Our Man in Marrakesh Kyra Stanovy Don Sharp
1966 The Poppy Is Also a Flower Dancer Terence Young
1966 Lange Beine – lange Finger (de) Doris Holberg Alfred Vohrer
1966 The Quiller Memorandum Inge Lindt Michael Anderson
1966 The Treasure of San Gennaro Maggie Dino Risi
1967 To Commit a Murder Gertraud Sphax Édouard Molinaro
1967 The Ambushers Francesca Madeiros Henry Levin Matt Helm
1967 Diabolically Yours Christiane Julien Duvivier
1969 If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium London Saleswoman Mel Stuart Cameo
1969 Les Étrangers (fr) May Jean-Pierre Desagnat (fr)
1969 De Sade Anne de Montreuil Cy Endfield
1969 Giacomo Casanova: Childhood and Adolescence Giulietta Cavamacchia Luigi Comencini
1970 Cuori solitari Giovanna Franco Giraldi
1970 When Women Had Tails Filli Pasquale Festa Campanile
1971 He Who Loves in a Glass House Hanna Michael Verhoeven
1971 Le Saut de l’ange (fr) Sylvaine Orsini Yves Boisset
1971 Roma Bene Princess Dedé Marescalli Carlo Lizzani
1971 Lover of the Great Bear Fela Valentino Orsini
1972 Die Moral der Ruth Halbfass Ruth Halbfass Volker Schlöndorff
1973 Reigen (de) The wife Otto Schenk
1973 The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne Wim Wenders
1973 Hospitals: The White Mafia Suor Maria Luigi Zampa
1973 Amore e ginnastica Maria Pedani Luigi Filippo D’Amico
1974 Puzzle Sara Grimaldi Duccio Tessari
1974 La bellissima estate Manuela Sergio Martino
1976 MitGift (de) Alice Burgmann Michael Verhoeven
1976 The Swiss Conspiracy Denise Abbott Jack Arnold
1976 Goodnight, Ladies and Gentlemen Signora Palese Anthology film
1977 Das Chinesische Wunder Detta Gaspardi Wolfgang Liebeneiner
1977 Cross of Iron Eva Sam Peckinpah
1978 Ritratto di borghesia in nero Carla Richter Tonino Cervi
1985 Fatto su misura Signora Schwartz Francesco Laudadio
1985 The Two Lives of Mattia Pascal Clara Mario Monicelli
1986 Killing Cars (de) Marie Landauer Michael Verhoeven
1990 Tre colonne in cronaca Countess Odessa Bonaveri Carlo Vanzina
1998 Bin ich schön? (de) Unna Doris Dörrie
2009 Ob ihr wollt oder nicht! Dorothea Ben Verbong
2010 Satte Farben vor Schwarz (de) Anita Sophie Heldman (de)
2012 Zettl (de) Mona Mödlinger Helmut Dietl
2012 Ruhm (de) Rosalie Isabel Kleefeld (de)
Year Title Role Notes
1963 Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color : The Waltz King (de) Henriette Treffz
1964 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. : The Double Affair Serena (TV series, 1 episode)
1968 It Takes a Thief : A Thief Is a Thief Claire Vickers (TV series, 1 episode)
1968 Istanbul Express Mila Darvos
1968 Babeck (de) Susanne Stefan (TV miniseries, 3 episodes)
1969 It Takes a Thief : Flowers from Alexander Claire Vickers/Laurie James (TV series, 1 episode)
1986 Kir Royal – Aus dem Leben eines Klatschreporters Mona (TV series, 6 episodes)
1989 Die schnelle Gerdi Gerdi (TV series, 6 episodes)
1990 La belle Anglaise (TV series, 1 episode)
1992 Sie und Er Charlotte
1992 Lilli Lottofee Lilli (TV series, 6 episodes)
1994 Gefangene Liebe
1994–1996 Ärzte : Dr. Schwarz und Dr. Martin Dr. Margarethe Martin (TV series, 8 episodes)
1995 Die Nacht der Nächte Teresa
1995 Kommissar Rex Karla Wilke (TV series, 1 episode)
1996 Mein Sohn ist kein Mörder! Sarah Renzi
1997 Kap der Rache Lilian
1997 Lamorte (de) Susa
1997 Bella Ciao Teresa
1998 Mammamia Clara
1999 Liebe und weitere Katastrophen Franziska Ackermann (TV miniseries, 4 episodes)
1999 Rosamunde Pilcher: Nancherrow Alex Gower
1999 Mit fünfzig küssen Männer anders (de) Marie Mechlenburg
2000 Zimmer mit Frühstück Elisabeth
2000 Trennungsfieber Dr. Carla Severin-Bauer
2000 Scharf aufs Leben (de) Solveigh Kronberg
2000 Probieren Sie’s mit einem Jüngeren Anna
2002–2014 Unter Verdacht Dr. Eva-Maria Prohacek (TV series, 22 episodes)
2002 Bis dass dein Tod uns scheidet Edith Mosbach
2004 Die schnelle Gerdi und die Hauptstadt Gerdi (TV series, 6 episodes)
2004 Die Konferenz (de) Cornelia Cordes
2005 Einmal so wie ich will (de) Emma Bauer
2005 Emilia – Die zweite Chance Dr. Emilia Seiler
2005 Emilia – Familienbande Dr. Emilia Seiler
2006 Nette Nachbarn küsst man nicht (de) Helga Forstmann
2008 Rosamunde Pilcher: Four Seasons Julia Combe (TV miniseries, 4 episodes)
2009 Schlaflos (de) Carla Sagmeister
2009 Frau Böhm sagt Nein (de) Rita Böhm
2009 Mama kommt! (de) Luise Fischer
2010 Liebe am Fjord: Das Ende der Eiszeit Pernille (TV series, 1 episode)
2011 In den besten Jahren (de) Erika Welves
2012 Operation Zucker (de) Dorothee Lessing (TV thriller)
2012 Hochzeiten (de) Klara
2013 Und alle haben geschwiegen (de) Luisa Hamilton (TV drama)
2013 Willkommen auf dem Land (de) Rita

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